[I am reprinting a post from the excellent blog Solve Climate on one individual who is trying to make a difference in a rather unusual way.]
On December 24th we [Solve Climate] carried a report about Tim DeChristopher’s heroic act of civil disobedience: he went to an auction of public lands and outbid oil and gas companies for 22,500 acres of land — in order to protect it from fossil fuel development. The price? A whopping $1.8 million the University of Utah student doesn’t have.
The downpayment is due on January 9th, a mere $45,000, and on the advice of the legal team working to protect him and keep him out of jail, DeChristopher is trying to raise the money. So far, he’s got $18,000 in hand, and a campaign that’s gaining steam.
Below is DeChristopher’s appeal letter, and the link for making a contribution is here.
As you may have already heard, on December 19th I chose to disrupt the BLM oil and gas auction through an act of civil disobedience by bidding against participating oil & gas companies. I ended up “winning” the leases for 22,500 acres of beautiful land near Moab. You can find more details at www.bidder70.org.
The tremendous support I’ve received in response to my action was unexpected and utterly inspiring. Hundreds of people have contributed over $10,000 to my legal defense and to the $45,000 bond obligation for the leases. And countless others have expressed their solidarity and support for the long American tradition of meaningful civil disobedience.
In addition to the moving effect on me, this support has also opened up the real possibility of paying off the leases which I “won”. The initial payment on this, required to secure the land, is around $45,000. After a good deal of struggling over this choice, I have decided to raise the money to secure the leases. With much advice from my legal team, it has become clear to me that making the down payment on the leases is the best way to protect the land until we can restore open, transparent and democratic procedures for determining the fate of valuable public lands.
It is still unclear how the new administration will deal with this inappropriate auction and the disruption I caused to it, but I can only hope the President Obama follows through on his promise for a transparent government. Until then I will make sure that no drilling or development happens on this land, and for that I need your help. This is an opportunity for all of us to make a clear statement of how much we care for our land, our climate and participatory democracy.
Please donate to help protect these 22,500 acres of wilderness (and reduce the chance of prison for me). Together we can protect this land and show that we are all willing to make the sacrifices necessary for a livable future.
Sincerely, Tim DeChristopher
[I would add that it is entirely possible Obama will end up canceling this auction -- perhaps even using this odd turn of events as a justification for doing so. That would mean DeChristopher would never have to come up with the full $1.8 million. If so, $45,000 is a small price to pay to protect 22,500 acres of wildnerness. It's only $2 an acre!]